You may have heard people talk about “frog medicine” or “toad ceremonies”. What they are discussing includes rituals and ceremonies that utilize the natural bioactive compounds of a toad and frogs for cleansing and healing. The two most popular forms of Frog Medicine are called Kambo and Bufo, both of which originate with the indigenous tribes of the Americas.
Both of these “medicines” utilize the skin secretions of native frogs to induce healing processes for the mind, body, and soul. However, that is where the similarities end. Their administration, action, and are as vastly different as their respective habitats.
Bufo: Visionary Assistant to the Mezo-Americas
Bufao Alvarius, also known as the Colorado River Toad or Sonoran Desert Toad, resides in Northern Mexico and the Southern United States. The skin secretions of this desert-dwelling toad (commonly called Bufo) contain the psychedelic tryptamines 5-MeO-DMT and Bufotenin, which affects the brain by inducing visionary hallucinations that are believed to be both transformatively healing and deeply spiritual. In a ritual setting, Bufo is smoked for this psychedelic effect which is used to initiate vision quests, reconnect with Spirit, and experience holistic unity.
Kambo: Holistic Healer of the Amazon
Conversely, Kambo has no psychoactive properties at all and is relied upon solely for its purgative and healing effects. Similar to Bufo, Kambo is the skin secretion of the Giant Monkey Tree Frog – which finds its home deep in the jungles of the Amazon River Basin. The active biomedical compounds in Kambo are a potent cocktail of peptides… each acting on a different area of the body for physical and emotional cleansing.
An excellent complimentary or preparatory ritual for a psychedelic journey, Kambo opens the physical, mental, and energetic channels of the body to emotional and physical detox and is an excellent way to release any negative energy you are unconsciously holding onto and open yourself to emotional clarity.
Unlike Bufo, Kambo should never be smoked. Instead, it is applied topically over superficial burns (called “gates”) that are created in the uppermost level of epidermis… allowing the peptides to enter directly into the lymphatic system. Soon after the medicine is applied, the main bioactive peptide stimulates an artificial fever, followed quickly by an intense purge (i.e., vomiting). This process stimulates the bowels, liver, kidneys, and lymphs to detox your entire body… while the other active peptides work to reset and heal your brain, body, and spirit.
While Bufo is typically used strictly for its spiritually enlightening effects, Kambo treatment has scientifically proven healing effects on the physical body that include mechanisms to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, increase pain tolerance, ease symptoms of withdrawal, aid depression, anxiety, and PTSD, heal the gut, protect cellular division, and combat cancer…. While simultaneously ridding the body of the toxins that commonly foster these problems and producing spiritual/emotional healing through the process.
How long does frog medicine last?
With nearly all Frog Medicine experiences, the initial effect comes on almost immediately and typically lasts around 20-30 minutes. You should be well hydrated and mentally prepared before entering the ceremony (regardless of the type). Immediately after the height of the ceremony, it is common for the shaman to utilize other, complimentary plant medicines such as Hapè or sananga to help ground and refocus or reacquaint you with normative physical reality and sensation. As with all shamanic medicines, you may experience lingering ‘symptoms’ afterwards as your body and spirit integrate your healing.
What to consider before a Frog Medicine Ceremony
Before the medicine is ingested, we encourage you to talk to the shaman guiding you and/or the other travellers in your group about your goals for the experience. Whether you choose Kambo or Bufo, give ample consideration to your motivations and intentions for partaking in these sacred ceremonies. The saying is that the frog will take you where you need to go, but is a good idea to have a broad objective for what you want to achieve. Kambo Ceremony is useful for psychological stresses that are held inside as well as the physiological dis-eases they create. Bufo is useful for spiritual understanding and universal interconnection… returning to the truth of yourself and your purpose.
Frog medicine allows you to borrow the spirit of the fog to guide you on a journey into your own consciousness. It has been used in the Western world safely for decades and is continuing to grow in popularity, but it is not something to be undertaken lightly or without proper guidance. As with all shamanic medicines like Kambo treatments, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced shaman and skilled practitioner when considering if it is right for you.